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“A lie dressed up as an opinion can enter the conversation and start to encroach on the facts” says prominent historian, and authority on anti-semitism and holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt. It’s a great paradox that we are consuming more news than ever before, but believing it less. If news was food, we’d all be overweight but under-nourished. In the UK, according to the Reuters Institute, just 28% of us trust the news ‘in general’, but 39% of us believe the particular sources of news that we regularly use. We’re being conditioned to believe only those we already agree with. In this information age, it should be easier than ever to find the facts, but readers and journalists alike lack the time, skills and wherewithal to seek out the crucial context that can change the meaning of a fact, if not the fact itself. If ‘trusted’ news brands continue to lose the credibility battle to WhatsApp groups, where does that leave journalism, and indeed the truth?
You can buy Eliot’s book We Are Bellingcat here.
Editor and invited experts
Editor and Partner, Tortoise
Founder of Bellingcat
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Student View